​​Taking Care of your Mental Health while Searching for a Job

10th October, 2018

Mental health is important, especially if you are looking for work. For World Mental Health Day, Futures for You look at ways to reduce the impact your next move could have on your wellbeing.

World Mental Health day is acknowledged on October 10th every year; it is a day for education, awareness and action against the social stigma that surrounds mental illnesses.

Mental health charity, Mind, estimates that one in four people will experience mental health issues in their lifetime, and research suggests that the recent rise in mental illness diagnoses could be related to an increase in worries about employment and finances.

Finding work or moving on to the next step in your career can be a very stressful time in life, and it is one that can trigger or worsen the symptoms of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.

At Futures for You, we work with Insight Healthcare to offer support and advice to those who are experiencing poor mental health due to unemployment, job search stress or the general pressures of managing your career. Through this partnership we are able to find solutions which look at the bigger picture.

Your mental health is important, and the symptoms of mental illnesses should be treated by professionals, in accordance with your GP. However, there are some steps you can take to make the search for a job less demanding on your mental health.

1. Turn negatives into positives

Job searching and making career decisions are often associated with negative feelings. While it’s normal to feel frustrated when things don’t turn out as hoped, or if applications start to get repetitive, the way you respond to those feelings can have an impact on your overall wellbeing and mood.

Consciously turning negative thoughts into positives is one of the simplest ways to maintain your morale and motivation.. For example, you might start thinking about how annoying it is that you have to re-enter your information into multiple online applications. Notice this frustration, then twist the thought around – perhaps focusing on how re-entering your skills gives you the opportunity to reflect on your achievements so far.

2. Don’t overload yourself

When searching for jobs and opportunities, it can be tempting to apply for every vacancy you see. However, that will have two effects:

  • You may rush the applications which will lower the quality of and affect your chances of success.
  • Trying to complete so many applications is likely to take up a lot of your free time, resulting in mental and physical burnout.

When it comes to the vacancies you are applying for, the key is quality over quantity. Shortlist the positions you want to apply for, accounting for the factors that matter to you. These might include salary, how far you will need to travel to get there and the working hours offered.

By selecting vacancies that appeal to you, you are more likely to want to work hard on the applications, which will increase your motivation. Meanwhile, reducing the number of applications you need to complete will mean that you can spend enough time on each one, as well as preventing mental exhaustion.

3. Take regular breaks

Alongside managing your workload effectively, your brain needs regular breaks to stay healthy. Make sure you don’t spend too long looking at a screen or reading small writing. If possible, try to do an activity or hobby that distracts your mind from the job search completely. Itwill help you to concentrate more effectively and ‘reset’ your mind so that you can approach the next vacancy afresh.

4. Look at other options

If you’re looking for work or career opportunities, it’s likely that your current circumstances don’t make you happy; whether unemployed, in a role which doesn’t suit you, or feeling as though your options for progression are limited.

It’s easy to become stuck in a rut and start feeling as though things will never change for you. However, this could be the opportunity you need to make a change in your professional life.That change might include working toward a new qualification, learning a new skill, or changing your career direction completely. This period of dissatisfaction could be an opportunity in disguise.

5. Seek advice and help

At Futures for You, we offer advice, guidance and support to help you to make the best choices for your career. We can help you to find employment, training and qualifications to boost your confidence and make sure your career is on the right track.

For more information, get in touch, or drop in to talk to an adviser.

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